England let slip a golden opportunity to take a 2-1 lead in the series, losing five wickets for 10 runs as they collapsed to a 14-run defeat to New Zealand in the third T20 international in Nelson.
Chasing 181 to win, England were perfectly placed at 139-2 in the 15th over, with Dawid Malan (55 off 34 balls) having fired a fifth T20I fifty at the top of the order, and James Vince and captain Eoin Morgan both well set at the crease.
But Morgan (18 off 13) holed out at long-on when looking for a third six from Mitchell Santner's over, triggering a disastrous lower-order collapse, with Sam Billings (1) run out, Vince (49 off 39) picking out mid-off and Lewis Gregory (0) and Sam Curran (2) perishing in the same Lockie Ferguson over.
Earlier, Tom Banton and Matt Parkinson impressed in flashes as they made their international debuts. Banton (18 off 10) smashed two boundaries and a glorious six in an entertaining cameo in England's reply, while Parkinson bowled Tim Seifert for his maiden wicket as he returned figures of 1-14 but only bowled two overs.
The returning Tom Curran was the standout of the England bowlers though, taking 2-29 and claiming a terrific catch over his shoulder to dismiss the dangerous Martin Guptill as New Zealand were restricted to a score of 180-7 - Colin de Grandhomme top-scoring with 55 from 35 balls.
The Black Caps won the toss for the first time in the series, but Tim Southee elected to bat first, ensuring the hosts would be tasked with defending a score for a third successive game.
It looked to be a smart move as Guptill (33 off 17) raced out of the blocks, blasting seven boundaries in the opening four overs, before his blitz was ended by a Pat Brown (1-34) slower ball and Curran's superb catch which showed that England's catching woes from the second game of the series had been forgotten.
Curran was quickly back in the action, this time with the ball, deceiving Colin Munro (6) with his own superbly-disguised slower delivery, which the left-hander skewed to a diving Saqib Mahmood at short third man.
With two new batsmen at the crease, Morgan threw the ball to Parkinson for his first bowl in international cricket, and he struck with just his fifth ball as Seifert attempted an ungainly reverse slog. But De Grandhomme then fired the Black Caps back into the game.
Mahmood proved particularly expensive, with his four overs going for 49 runs, though he did pick up the wicket of Ross Taylor (27 off 24) late on, albeit rather fortuitously with an lbw decision that was shown to be missing leg stump.
There were some useful lower-order contributions from Jimmy Neesham (20 off 15) and Santner (15 off 9), but New Zealand didn't appear to have enough, particularly as Banton and Malan blasted 25 from the opening two overs of England's reply.
However, Blair Tickner - in for his first action of the series - bowled Banton in the third over, with the 20-year-old Somerset star looking to ramp to the fine leg boundary.
The setback was only a momentary one, with Malan and Vince seeing England's score up to 90 without further loss by the midway point of their chase, the former notching a fifth T20I fifty in just his eighth game.
Legspinner Ish Sodhi, who had been plundered for 14 runs from his opening over, returned to remove Malan in rather fortunate fashion the 11th over - the newly-signed Yorkshire batsman smacking a low full toss straight to the man at deep midwicket.
Again, England recovered from the loss, with Vince and Morgan sharing another impressive stand, only for the innings to suddenly and dramatically fall apart.
Morgan took a liking to Santner and smacked him for two huge sixes over deep backward square-leg in the 15th over but then perished when looking to clear the boundary again straight.
Billings departed four balls later, a Munro direct hit doing for him after he was sent back by Vince when looking for a quick single. Tickner (2-25) capped a fine personal day with the key wicket coming in the next over, Vince's tortured England career continuing as he failed to turn another attractive knock into a match-winning one.
Without a set batsman left, England meekly succumbed to a second-straight defeat thereafter, with Ferguson (2-25) matching Tickner's figures with the double-strike of Gregory and Sam Curran to complete the collapse.
Watch England's fourth T20I against New Zealand, live from 4.30am on Friday on Sky Sports Cricket.